Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Writers Guild Office Boy 1970 (xv)

The only other significant thing I remember about December 1970 (after concluding in that month that an anti-imperialist matriarchal socialist society needed to be established in the United States) was being involved in celebrating Christmas at both a Writers Guild office Christmas party and a Christmas party at Sylvia’s apartment in Brooklyn, to which she invited her fellow workers from the Guild office.

At the Writers Guild union office, Pat told the rest of the union office workers in advance that she couldn’t afford to buy any Christmas presents for the rest of us; and that, therefore, we all shouldn’t buy any presents to give to her at the office Christmas party. The rest of the union office workers, however, each bought Christmas presents for each other, which we exchanged at the office Christmas party on the day before Christmas Eve.

I can’t remember what kind of Christmas presents I received from my office mates, because they were not things I really wanted or needed much. Maybe a pen or knick-knack or gloves or scarf or sweater might have been among the gifts I received.

Ms. Burkey, however, proved to be a generous Writers Guild Executive Director when it came time to give Christmas bonuses. Every office worker in the Writers Guild union office got a Christmas bonus equal to 4 weeks worth of salary in late December 1970. And even though Maria and I had only started working there in September 1970 and had worked at the Writers Guild office for only just about 4 months, we still were given the same 4 weeks worth of salary Christmas bonus that the Guild office workers who had been working there for years received.

Having received such an unexpectedly large Christmas bonus from the Writers Guild, I spent more money and time on buying Christmas presents for my fellow workers in Christmas 1970 than I would generally do in future Christmases in the 1970s and 1980s--when my future employers generally did not give their employees any Christmas bonus.

I gave Joe a copy of Robin Morgan’s Sisterhood Is Powerful anthology book, hoping to encourage Joe to become more supportive of radical feminism; and, hoping to also radicalize Eli the bookkeeper, I gave Eli a copy of the Phil Ochs In Concert vinyl record album.

For Sylvia’s Christmas present, I gave her a copy of Joan Baez’s Farewell Angelina vinyl album, while I gave Shirley a copy of a book about U.S. war crimes in Viet Nam for her Christmas gift, in order to encourage her anti-war sentiments. A copy of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited vinyl album was my gift to Maria; and I gave the college student who worked part-time at the Writers Guild office, Rosemary, a copy of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home vinyl album.

Because Rosemary, being just a part-time worker at the union office, had not given me or any of the other Writers Guild office workers any Christmas gifts, she was apparently surprised and touched that I thought enough of her to go out and buy her the Dylan record, which seemed to interest her. So after Rosemary unwrapped my gift to her, she spontaneously gave me an affectionate kiss for the first time, which surprised me somewhat. But despite her office Christmas party kiss, Rosemary was apparently still too involved with her steady boyfriend from her own neighborhood in Queens and wanting to prepare for a conventional straight working-class or straight middle-class life after college, to ever approach me in more than a formal business-like way after kissing me at the Christmas Party, during the rest of the time I worked as the Writers Guild office boy.

No comments: